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Historical Exhibits

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Historical exhibitions are visual displays that tell stories of people and events from the past. These exhibitions can be found in museums, art galleries, libraries, schools and historical societies. They are often based on research and interpretation by historians. They include objects, dioramas, charts and maps that help explain the items on display. They may also have audiovisual or interactive components. Historical exhibits can be permanent or traveling.

Museums dealing with history are often called historical or heritage museums. Some are national in scope, while others are local or regional. A large number of museums are dedicated to particular aspects of history, such as art, natural history, science or archaeology. In general, they are designed to stimulate public awareness of the past and to promote understanding of cultural and intellectual achievement.

Many historic exhibits are interpretive and require more context than fine arts exhibitions. These are typically accompanied by more text and interpretation graphics than those displayed in galleries devoted to fine art. The development of these types of exhibitions began in the 19th century with the introduction of the blockbuster museum show, as illustrated by the 1902 Bruges exhibition of early Netherlandish paintings that fueled research and discussion of those works.

Traveling exhibits are a vital part of the work done by many museums. They allow institutions that would otherwise be unable to house the exhibits an opportunity to share important information with the public. The exhibitions can be temporary or permanent and are usually accompanied by educational materials that address specific curriculum objectives.

The Minnesota Historical Society Traveling Exhibits program brings historical and cultural topics to communities across the state. The programs are developed in collaboration with partnering organizations to showcase local history. The exhibits are available to county historical societies, tribal organizations, museums and other governmental and nonprofit cultural institutions within Minnesota which serve the public. The exhibits are made possible through grants from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Board. To view a complete list of the upcoming travel exhibits and their locations, visit the Applications guidelines and instructions page to review hosting requirements and download an application.